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Women's Health

Is There A Way to Better Explain How I Feel?

11/18/2011

Question:

I am in the middle of a major RA flare. I have RA for 7 years. But this flare is different. I am more tired then normal and I just don`t feel well. I think there is something wrong beside my RA. Can I just tell him something is wrong but I don`t know how to describe how I feel? How can I explain to my doctor that I am just not feeling well but I can`t tell him how I feel? How can I help him figure out what is going on? How would a doctor deal with a pateint like me?

Answer:

I'm so very sorry that you feel so miserable. The RA flares are no fun. If you were my patient I'd want you to tell me what felt different than what you experience in an RA flare. I'd also want you to be very clear that you know how your body feels during a flare and that this one feels different. No symptom is too minor to note. It's really important to also say what you've done to respond to the symptoms (any additional medicines you may have taken, any herbs or over the counter treatments). These are important. Finally don't let him brush you off with a statement that these are just because of the flare. If you really fell terrible don't let him leave the exam room until he really listens to you. Remember you are the one who is in charge of your body. You know how it feels and what it's like when it's not responding well. All the best Hope this helps!

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Response by:

Elizabeth R Barker, APRN, BC, FNP, FAANP, CHE, PhD Elizabeth R Barker, APRN, BC, FNP, FAANP, CHE, PhD
Associate Professor, Nursing Graduate Studies
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University